While couscous, an emblematic dish of North Africa, officially entered Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage on December 16, the Algerian Minister of Culture made a statement that did not go unnoticed.
“The woman who does not know how to prepare couscous is a threat to her family”. This is what Malika Bendaouda said during her speech celebrating the official entry, on December 16, of couscous, an emblematic dish from the Maghreb, to Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage.
Comments deemed “sexist” and inappropriate which did not fail to cause controversy in Algeria, arousing many reactions, like that of the film producer Yacine Bouaziz who on Facebook wrote a long comment that he concluded with these concise words: “NO it is not the Algerian woman who does not know how to roll couscous who is a danger to our identity. The DANGER is your mismanagement of a sector about which you know nothing. ”
Sensing the controversy swelling, the minister insisted on situating her remarks, which she considers taken out of context. She thus published her entire speech for a better perspective. “Everyone will realize, returning to the full account of my statement regarding the classification of couscous, that the passage in circulation has been taken out of context and used out of its intellectual and historical perspective,” she wrote on his Twitter account.
In this complete video, we can hear that the minister herself admits that she is not an expert in the preparation of couscous.
سيدرك الجميع بالعودة إلى التسجيل الكامل لتصريحي بخصوص تصنيف الكسكس أن المقطع المتداول أخارج عن سياقه واسليرفيرفيه واسليرفيف الكسكس أن المقطع المتداول أخاسليرفيرفيه واسلير فيه واليريفيف الكسكس أن المقطع المتداول أخاسلير فيه واسلير فيه واستخريف الكسكس أن المقطع المتداول أخاسلير فيه واسرير فيه واسليرفيد
فيديو المداخلة كاملة والبيان التوضيحي عبر الرابط التالي: https://t.co/Ukr5u1mi8G
– Malika Bendouda (@BendoudaMalika) December 18, 2020
In her speech, the Minister insisted on the importance of this traditional dish and its preservation in the culinary culture of the country. In another tweet, the Minister is more exhaustive: “Couscous is part of the world heritage, I will always repeat that it is not only a dish, but a cultural model and a way of life. , that it is a ritual anchored for centuries, in individuals and in honor, in respect and celebration, in solidarity and support, and it is a first indication of the diversity in which the inhabitants believed of the region, in its plurality and diversity. ”
Couscous officially entered the intangible cultural heritage of Unesco on December 16, after a joint application from four Maghreb countries where the recipes for this popular dish are endless. Rarely, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia brought together the dossier “Knowledge, know-how and practices linked to the production and consumption of couscous”, without arguing over the authorship of this dish. of durum wheat, barley or corn semolina, served with vegetables and skilfully spiced meat or fish.
Following the announcement made by Unesco, the representatives of the four countries expressed in turn their “joy” and their “pride” for this gastronomic and cultural recognition during the official ceremony broadcast on the website of the ‘Unesco.